9 Veggie Quinoa and Chicken

Written by Todd

Topics: Dinner, Lunch, Pastas, grains, beans

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Red_quinoa by Blairingmedia

While I realize 9 veggies is quite a lot, it was what I had on hand at the time.  With the mix being half fresh and half frozen, it’s not a lot of effort to add all of them.  It also makes the dish have a little more of a complex flavor, as sometimes you’re tasting broccoli and sometimes that green thing is asparagus!

Ingredients used:

  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 1 cup turkey or chicken broth (gluten-free)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 cup diced carrot
  • 1/4 cup diced celery
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 1 cup diced mushroom
  • 1 small zucchini, diced
  • 1/4 cup frozen corn
  • 1/2 cup frozen broccoli florets
  • 6 or 8 frozen asparagus spears
  • 1/4 cup frozen peas
  • Johnny’s Seasoning Salt
  • Trader Joe’s Just Grilled Chicken Strips (or substitute any cooked chicken)

Quin What?

I’ve only recently started adding quinoa to our diet, and I had no idea that this little ‘grain’ was so important.  The Incas, who held the crop to be sacred, referred to quinoa as chisaya mama or ‘mother of all grains’, and it was the Inca emperor who would traditionally sow the first seeds of the season using ‘golden implements’.

Additionally, Quinoa was of great nutritional importance in pre-Columbian Andean civilizations, secondary only to the potato, and was followed in importance by maize. In contemporary times, this crop has become highly appreciated for its nutritional value, as its protein content is very high (12%–18%). Unlike wheat or rice (which are low in lysine), and like oats, quinoa contains a balanced set of essential amino acids for humans, making it an unusually complete protein source among plant foods. It is a good source of dietary fiber and phosphorus and is high in magnesium and iron. Quinoa is gluten-free and considered easy to digest. Because of all these characteristics, quinoa is being considered a possible crop in NASA’s Controlled Ecological Life Support System for long-duration manned spaceflights. (All According to Wikipedia)

Okay so enough of a history lesson, let’s get down to cooking!

Step 1

Start Chopping

I love the The Global Vegetable Cleaver for this job. So dice up all of the fresh vegetables that you are going to use in this recipe and heat the olive oil over medium heat in your favorite pan.  Start sauteing the hardest vegetables first.  I season them with Johnny’s (liberally in my case), and I start with the carrot, celery, then the onion, and then the zucchini and finally the mushrooms.  Add the frozen veggies and cook for a few minutes.

I follow the cooking time on the package, but instead of 1 cup quinoa and 2 cups water I do 1 cup water and 1 cup broth for a slightly richer flavor.

Done So Soon?

Defrost and chop the chicken into bite sized pieces while the quinoa cooks and the veggies saute.  In a large bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, diced chicken and sauteed veggies and you’re done!

Biggest Challenge?

What is the biggest challenge of this recipe?  I think the biggest challenge is how to pronounce the main ingredient!  We unknowingly were pronouncing it incorrectly for quite awhile using the pronunciation of “qwin-oh-ah” – seems logical!  However, after chatting one day with a friend of ours we realized this magic little gluten-free grain actually is pronounced “keen-wah”!  Who knew!  One other tip, it does look a little bit like bird seed and without at least a little bit of San-J Tamari or other flavoring tastes pretty bland.  So think of it as a good substitute for rice and let us know what you think.

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Quinoa is such a versatile food, what are your favorite ways to use this ‘gluten-free grain’?

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